Film festival defends awarding Johnny Depp honorary prize

"Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged nor convicted"

A Spanish film festival has doubled down on its decision to award Johnny Depp an honorary prize amidst accusations of domestic abuse.

The San Sebastian Film Festival is due to award Depp the Donostia Award later this month. However, the announcement of Depp as the award’s recipient was met with instant backlash.

“This speaks very badly of the festival and its leadership, and transmits a terrible message to the public: ‘It doesn’t matter if you are an abuser as long as you are a good actor,’” Cristina Andreu, the president of Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers, told the Associated Press.


Today (August 13), the festival’s director José Luis Rebordinos has released a statement defending the decision.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp (Credit: Getty)

“According to the proven data which we have to hand, Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged nor convicted of any form of assault or violence against any woman,” the statement said.

“We repeat: he has not been charged by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor convicted of any form of violence against women.”

Although the statement voiced the festival’s commitment to fighting “inequality, the abuse of power and violence against women”, it also said: “In these present times, when lynching on social media is rife, we will always defend two basic principles which form part of our culture and of our body of laws: that of the presumption of innocence and that of the right to reintegration.”

Depp is also due to be honoured at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic later this month.


The actor was recently refused permission to appeal his libel case after being called “a wife beater” by The Sun, which concluded he had assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Warner Bros. subsequently asked Depp to resign from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, with Mads Mikkelsen set to replace him in the next film, due for release in July 2022.

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